Waiting for God knows what

I have joked a couple of times with friends that if I ever write a book that reflects on my journey with the Lord, somewhere would be a chapter or subheading entitled, ‘waiting for God knows what.’

On the one hand, I fear that perhaps it might be perceived as irreverent. However, that isn’t the way I mean it at all. I’m quite serious. I’ve approached this season of life where I’m waiting and walking with Him and the more I read His Word, the more I seek to know Him, the less I really grasp what I’m waiting for. Maybe that is because it’s His business right now and not mine or maybe I’ve just been so anxious about it and thought through so many scenarios that I’ve now found myself obscuring what could have been obvious. Overthinkers can do that. 😉

What can be gained from a season of ‘waiting for God knows what?’

Perspective. God has a grip on what’s going on even when I don’t have a clue. When we approach those wide open spaces or those long corridors with too many doors along each side, we have to trust that God is permitting a lack of clarity for His purposes. It challenges me time and again to recall that He is sovereign and that our lives are all for Him.

Humility. So, all that thinking and reflecting and reading multitudes of books does help me grow as a Christian, but I’ll be lopsided unless I’m forced to put those things into practice and when I do, I find that I need God for that because I fall way short of who I aspire to be in Him, and that some of the ideas I have about who I ‘should’ be for Him might not be His plans for me. Ouch.

Gentleness of spirit. I have this ‘thing’ about crying, especially in public, but just crying in general. I don’t like to. I feel ‘weak’ if I do. The drawback, of course, is the callous it seems to form on my heart when I set out to withhold my emotions because of pride. This year has brought forth a lot of tears, many in public. I still don’t like it, but the bright side is the sensitivity to other people’s pain and the willingness to really hear them out and care grows when you’ve been through your own ‘stuff.’

Determination. When we stick with God through the waiting, we find that the more we stick with Him, the more we want to, no matter what is up ahead, and even when things may get worse before they improve. I’m more compelled to persist in my relationship with Him, in part, because of the waiting room times. I think that when this wait is over, I will have been infused with the strength to take up the things God has prepared for me, but that came out of the willingness to persevere during the lean moments.

Trust. I want to be able to understand what God is doing, what He has done. While I wait, there have been big circumstances under which He has made it clear that He knows what He’s doing, but He’s not going to explain it to me, either now or maybe not at all. It presses me to trust Him to handle the intricate pieces of my life that I just can’t figure out.

Hope. I am a doubter. This one is the most difficult to bring forth in me, but in the smallest ways, I see tiny glimmerings of hope cropping up out of the waiting. Slowly, I believe more and more that God hasn’t said no or wait or kept silent on some matters that mean a great deal to me simply because He’s got His plans and I need to fall in line with them. When we have to wait, it hurts because God allows us to become acutely aware of emptiness within ourselves. Then, He permits us to wrestle with the reality that we can’t fill that emptiness with anything we can come up with. He gives us Himself; His presence. Until we acquire a taste for Him, it still doesn’t quite seem like ‘enough,’ even though it is. Sometimes those other things might accompany Him and other times, perhaps not, but if not, it is out of His love that He says no or wait or remains silent.

So, here I am, waiting for God knows what and praying that I will become the woman God intends through the waiting.

What fruit has waiting borne in your life?

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Where does my hope come from?

As I reflected on some of the issues that are going on in my life and around me, I was reminded that God does not delay His work any longer than necessary and that His delays are always with a greater purpose in mind.

When I search the faces of friends and family that are enduring long-term difficulties and I examine the groaning and disappointment in my own heart at some of the things that have transpired over the last year, I am pressed to either keep asking God to help me believe His Word or walk away. It is an active and ongoing choice to go to God, time and again, admitting that I need His help believing Him when the things I see might suggest that there is no hope.

In these times, we have the opportunity to remember where our hope as Christians comes from. It cannot be found anywhere but in Christ alone. Somewhere along the journey, we often gather up other hopes that do disappoint and fail us. If our hope is in our future, our family relationships, our successful career, our education, our talents and qualifications, our friends, our nice stuff…we’ll be let down. It is a process of letting go of those hopes so that we can cling rightly to the One hope we have. That is not to say that God might still provide in those areas and perhaps even abundantly, but these things are not to be our hope.

There are some women I care about dearly who hoped for happy families and healthy marriages and, well, that isn’t what they got. I want to tell them something that will fix their situations and restore their hope. I did point out that God is our hope and yet I felt that my presentation was a feeble attempt to give them what they long for. I get that they are in pain now and I get that eternity seems a long way off and I get that they don’t see a tangible resolution that meets their expectations, that satisfies their previous hopes. Ultimately, it I know it is the Lord that must fill them with Himself as they find themselves feeling empty and it is the Spirit that must make His Word come alive for them.

Somehow, in the midst of our deferred hopes or dashed hopes, God makes a way for us to acknowledge Him as the hope we have for today and every tomorrow until He returns and makes all things new. I suppose that one of the advantages of being in the trenches right alongside these dear ones with my own collection of hopes disappointed is that in this season, God provides me  a unique ability to speak into their lives as someone acquainted with their grief, perhaps not their specific circumstances, but the common denominator of hoping in something or someone in addition to God and finding out that hope was misplaced. I’m not on my high horse handing them spiritual platitudes. I got knocked off and I’m right there beside them grappling with what I’ve read for years in scripture and what I want to believe against all odds, but it’s not easy to actually live that when hardship hits and keeps on coming.

Psalm 27:13-14: “I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living! Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!”

Job 19:25-26: “For I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last he will stand upon the earth. And after my skin has been thus destroyed, yet in my flesh I shall see God.”